Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Austin >
Jan 22, 2006 01:43 PM

John Mueller's (in Austin) closed for repairs

  • g

Tried to go Friday lunch. Parking lot empty, and sign on the door said "closed for repairs" - no other details.

Went to Gene's instead for a shrimp poboy - quite good!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Maybe when they reopen, they will not consistently be displaying the "Out of Food" sign on their doors Sat. at 3:00 in the afternoon. Keeping consistent hours of operation is a good idea for a restaurant. Having folks get turned away in the middle of the day because you "ran out of food" is BAD business in Austin. This might fly in Taylor but not in the big city.

    18 Replies
    1. re: Jay Santos

      Here's some more specific info...[see link]


      1. re: Mike Fenech

        Thanks for the link. Appears I was one of many folks that gave the guy the benefit of the doubt numerous times until we got fed up wih the quality and "out of food" issues. His "landlord" blamed it on Time Warner phone service? PUHLEEZE...

        1. He can't get a cell phone?
        2. The ONLY reason anyone would ever call the place was HIS fault (i.e. To find out if still had any food during his posted business hours).

        John was too full of himself, period. The way he treated his customers was either surly or condescending and his 'cue ranged from very below average to pretty good and at $10/lb. I quit taking the chance. He simply NEVER made me or anyone I know feel like he valued our business.

        John ought to go work for Bobby back in Taylor, if he'll let him. John had an advantage from the beginning (name recognition) and he simply didn't make it. Oh well.

        1. re: Jay Santos


          I'd like to propose a trade. Send John Mueller to Dallas, and Dallas will send Austin a barbecue joint that has reliable phone service, lower prices, pleasant staff, and no shortage of barbecue up to its regularly scheduled closing time. Take that back...we'll send you two of them. Hell, we'll give you a Dickey's, Sonny Bryan's, and Spring Creek. I'm sure you'd be satisfied with their hours of operation, cheerful employees, and consistency of quality (such as it is). ; )


          1. re: Scott

            That's a real goddurn good point. I did notice that John was surly, at first, but it is part of the pit bawse mystique. Once I went in, ordered just meat with no sides, and sat down and ate with my bare hands, he opened up a bit. I think, over time, that mystique sells BBQ (along with having good BBQ).

            And I know that Lockhart is only "twenty minutes" away (if you are already at the airport), but John's was the only place where i could count on at least sometimes getting the real thing. You can't not admit that.

            It's all about throughput.

            1. re: rudeboy

              "I did notice that John was surly, at first, but it is part of the pit bawse mystique."

              Oh please. John had been a "pit boss" for exactly how long? Maybe 3 whole years? The guys at Black's, Smitty's and City Market in Luling are all friendly sorts and been around FAR longer than good ol' John. Being rude and invasive evidently didn't work for him.

              1. re: Jay Santos
                Seamus Mitwurst

                It's a rough world when a right bastard just can't get ahead.

                I went to a Sushi place in San Francisco this past weekend. The place had no more than 16 seats. The old dude with the knife was strict about how to eat stuff. "No mixing wasabi with soy sauce. Only dip the nigiri fish side down. No, don't dip that fish at all."
                On the SF list, they call him the Sushi Nazi.
                (Unlike my wife, he thought that eating with my hands was a good idea.)

                It works for him because he works regular hours and has excellent product.

                I never went to Mueller's 'cause they never had any meat left when I wanted it.
                I feel no pity, especially after hearing how he treated his customers.

                1. re: Seamus Mitwurst

                  I can understand that everyone has his or her own reasons for vowing never to return to a restaurant. But I agree with Mike and rudeboy. Consistent hours and friendliness aren't as important to me as really good 'cue. There are far too many Austin restaurants whose strengths are only consistency and friendliness. I'm there to eat. What matters most to me is the quality of the final product. And I've had some very good meals at the quirky, family-run joints that sometimes run out of food, don't open on time, and make no apologies.

                  I should acknowledge that John treated me fine the few times I went in. I found out about Mueller's on this board after moving to Austin in August. His brisket was worth the wait in the parking lot--it was so much better than the meat served in most Austin joints.

                  I'm going to miss that place. I hope he re-opens one day.

                  Where can a chowhound find the next best thing--within Austin?

                  1. re: MPH

                    Unfortunately, there is not place in Austin that serves bbq as good as what you could "sometimes" get at Muellers. Rudy's chain is adequate. I personally like Ruby's on the Drag a lot, but a lot of people don't. If I'm really craving, I'll hop in the car and drive over to Crosstown or Southside in Elgin. You can make it there in 20 or 25 minutes from downtown. Course if you are going to do that, you might as well take the plunge and just drive to Lockhart.

                    1. re: ftf

                      I'll agree that when JM's was on target, it was really good. I think the next best place in town is House Park Barbecue on 12th. It's only open for weekday lunch but the brisket, pork loin and sausage are really good.

                      1. re: Greg Spence

                        Thanks, Greg. I'll check out House Park. Sometimes you need a fix and can't drive to Lockhart or Elgin.


                        1. re: MPH

                          I went to JM's a lot. He was never surly to me. Sounds like somebody's just a little bit over-sensitive.

                          And the 'cue was always excellent.

                    2. re: MPH

                      "Where can a chowhound find the next best thing--within Austin"

                      You can't. That's why you get in the car and drive a whole 25-30 minutes to Lockhart or even over to Taylor or Elgin if your on that side of town. Smitty's and Black's in Lockhart as well as Southside Market in Elgin are all open all day Sat and Sun so there is no "work" excuse. Sorry, but sometines you have to make a little effort to get the good stuff.

                      1. re: Jay Santos


                        Everyone knows that the best 'cue in central Texas is in Lockhart (I don't like Black's as much as Smitty's and Kreuz), Elgin, and Taylor.

                        It seems that even you yourself don't put in "a little effort" to drive out of town every time you need BBQ, since you posted several times about how disappointed you were with the service at John Mueller's right here in Austin.

                        Thanks to both ftf and Greg Spence for answering my question about the next best thing in town, post-JM’s. That’s something local hounds need to know.

                        1. re: MPH

                          After the first couple of poor experiences with his meats (or lack thereof) the ONLY thing I would go to his place for were potato salad and cole slaw, which were the best in town IMO. He even had run out of cole slaw by 11:30am one day? What, did some rabbit get loose in the place? JM will probably show up again somewhere in the future. Hopefully he's learned from his mistakes and does fine.

                    3. re: Seamus Mitwurst

                      My time for going to Mueller's was 11 AM. Usually when I was too busy for breakfast and hungering for protein. That seemed to be about the time that the first brisket was coming off the pit.

                      I took my fiance's Dad there (he's from Philadelphia) before Christmas. Got there at 11:15 on the way to the Celtic festival. I made him eat fat brisket and pork ribs. He took pictures of the place, the pits outside, and showed it to all of his friends in Philly and Bristol. Between that and Chicken-Shit Sunday at Ginny's (with many Schlitz), he was completely ecstatic over his "Texas" experience.

                    4. re: Jay Santos

                      Well, I'm not defending the pit bawse mystique, or John's potential use of it. I just noticed that trend. It's sort of like the venerable sushi "chef" that's mentioned below. It doesn't work unless you are old enough to pull it off.

                      Rudy's = Buca di Beppo.

                  2. re: Scott

                    And me and 20 friends will gladly help load the moving trucks.

                    BTW, I was in desperate need of a bbq fix on Saturday and decided to stop at Spring Creek (DFW) at Preston and LBJ. What a mistake. Bad sides and the sausage had to be just reheated Eckrich. But they were doing a brisk business at the ice cream and cobbler dessert bar. How sad.

                    1. re: Scott

                      That might actually be a good move for JM, EXCEPT there appears to be a SLIGHT problem with working capital. As far as "your" BBQ places go, I officed for five years one short block from the Dickey's in Grand Prarie and can count the number of times I ate there on one hand. And from what I recall the best items there were the pinto beans and cucumber salad, enough said. And Spring Creek was most famous for their yeast rolls. The only good and consistent BBQ in N. Texas over the years has been Angelo's in FW and its COPYCAT neighbor, Railhead.